[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 187 (Tuesday, September 27, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 59623-59634]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-24528]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2011-0078; MO 92210-0-0008 B2]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding 
on a Petition To List the Tamaulipan Agapema, Sphingicampa blanchardi 
(No Common Name), and Ursia furtiva (No Common Name) as Endangered or 
Threatened

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition finding.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce a 12-month 
finding on a petition to list the Tamaulipan agapema (Agapema galbina), 
Sphingicampa blanchardi (no common name), and Ursia furtiva (no common 
name) as endangered or threatened and to designate critical habitat 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After 
review of all available scientific and commercial information, we find 
that

[[Page 59624]]

listing any of these three southwestern moth species is not warranted 
at this time. However, we ask the public to submit to us any new 
information that becomes available concerning the threats to these 
three species or their habitat at any time.

DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on September 27, 
2011.

ADDRESSES: This finding is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. [FWS-R2-ES-2011-0078].
    Supporting documentation we used in preparing our finding for 
Tamaulipan agapema and Sphingicampa blanchardi is available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Corpus Christi Ecological Services Field 
Office, c/o TAMU-CC, 6300 Ocean Drive, 5837, Corpus Christi, 
TX 78412. Please submit any new information, materials, comments, or 
questions concerning this finding for Tamaulipan agapema and S. 
blanchardi to the Corpus Christi Ecological Services Field Office 
address.
    Supporting documentation we used in preparing our finding for Ursia 
furtiva is available for public inspection, by appointment, during 
normal business hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Austin 
Ecological Services Field Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, 
TX 78758. Please submit any new information, materials, comments, or 
questions concerning this finding for U. furtiva to the Austin 
Ecological Services Field Office address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you use a telecommunications device 
for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service 
(FIRS) at 800-877-8339.
    For information regarding Tamaulipan agapema and Sphingicampa 
blanchardi, please contact Allan Strand, Field Supervisor, Corpus 
Christi Ecological Services Field Office (see ADDRESSES), by telephone 
at 361-994-9005; or by facsimile at 361-994-8262.
    For information regarding Ursia furtiva, please contact Adam 
Zerrenner, Field Supervisor, Austin Ecological Services Field Office 
(see ADDRESSES), by telephone at 512-490-0057 extension 248; or by 
facsimile at 512-490-0974.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), requires that, for any petition 
to revise the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants that contains substantial scientific or commercial information 
that listing the species may be warranted, we make a finding within 12 
months of the date of receipt of the petition. In this finding, we will 
determine that the petitioned action is: (1) Not warranted, (2) 
warranted, or (3) warranted, but the immediate proposal of a regulation 
implementing the petitioned action is precluded by other pending 
proposals to determine whether species are endangered or threatened, 
and expeditious progress is being made to add or remove qualified 
species from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife 
and Plants. Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires that we treat a 
petition for which the requested action is found to be warranted but 
precluded as though resubmitted on the date of such finding, that is, 
requiring a subsequent finding to be made within 12 months. We must 
publish these 12-month findings in the Federal Register.

Previous Federal Actions

    On June 25, 2007, we received a petition dated June 18, 2007, from 
Forest Guardians (now WildEarth Guardians), requesting that 475 species 
in the southwestern United States, including the Tamaulipan agapema, 
Sphingicampa blanchardi, and U. furtiva, be listed under the Act and 
critical habitat be designated. We acknowledged the receipt of the 
petition in a letter to the petitioner dated July 11, 2007. In that 
letter we also stated that the petition was under review by staff in 
our Southwest Regional Office.
    We received a second petition, dated June 12, 2008, from WildEarth 
Guardians on June 18, 2008, requesting emergency listing of 32 species 
under the Act, including one of the three moths addressed above, 
Tamaulipan agapema. We provided a response to this petition on July 22, 
2008, indicating that we had reviewed the information presented in the 
petition and the immediacy of possible threats. We determined that 
issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing the species under 
section 4(b)(7) of the Act was not warranted. We also noted that we 
would continue to review these species through the petition process.
    On March 19, 2008, WildEarth Guardians filed a complaint alleging 
that the Service failed to comply with its mandatory duty to make a 
preliminary 90-day finding on the June 18, 2007, petition to list 475 
southwestern species. We subsequently published an initial 90-day 
finding for 270 of the 475 petitioned species on January 6, 2009 (74 FR 
419), concluding that the petition did not present substantial 
information that listing of those 270 species may be warranted. This 
initial 90-day finding did not include the Tamaulipan agapema, 
Sphingicampa blanchardi, or Ursia furtiva. Subsequently, on March 13, 
2009, the Service and WildEarth Guardians filed a stipulated settlement 
agreement, agreeing that the Service would submit to the Federal 
Register a finding as to whether their petition presented substantial 
information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted for 
the remaining southwestern species by December 9, 2009. On December 4, 
2009, we made a second 90-day finding for the remaining species, which 
included a determination that listing the Tamaulipan agapema, S. 
blanchardi, and U. furtiva may be warranted, and initiated a status 
review, which was published in the Federal Register on December 16, 
2009 (74 FR 66866). This notice constitutes the 12-month finding on 
both petitions to list the Tamaulipan agapema, S. blanchardi, and U. 
furtiva as endangered or threatened.
Evaluation of the Status of Each of the Three Moth Species
    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and implementing regulations 
(50 CFR part 424) set forth procedures for adding species to, removing 
species from, or reclassifying species on the Federal Lists of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of 
the Act, a species may be determined to be endangered or threatened 
based on any of the following five factors:
    (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (C) Disease or predation;
    (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
    (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence.
    In making this finding, we discuss below information pertaining to 
each species in relation to the five factors provided in section 
4(a)(1) of the Act. In considering what factors might constitute 
threats, we must look beyond the mere exposure of the species to the 
factor to determine whether the species responds to the factor in a way 
that causes actual impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a 
factor, but no response, or only a positive response, that factor is 
not a threat. If there is exposure and the species responds negatively, 
the factor may be a threat

[[Page 59625]]

and we then attempt to determine how significant a threat it is. If the 
threat is significant, it may drive or contribute to the risk of 
extinction of the species such that the species warrants listing as 
endangered or threatened as those terms are defined by the Act. This 
does not necessarily require empirical proof of a threat. The 
combination of exposure and some corroborating evidence of how the 
species is likely impacted could suffice. The mere identification of 
factors that could negatively impact a species is not sufficient to 
compel a finding that listing is appropriate; we require evidence that 
these factors are operative threats that act on the species to the 
point that the species meets the definition of endangered or threatened 
under the Act.
    In making our 12-month finding on the petition, we considered and 
evaluated the best available scientific and commercial information. We 
reviewed the petition, information available in our files, and other 
available published and unpublished information, and we consulted with 
recognized moth experts and biologists.
    For each of the three species, we provide a description of the 
species and its life-history and habitat, an evaluation of listing 
factors for that species, and our finding of whether the petitioned 
action is warranted or not for that species.

Species Information for Tamaulipan Agapema

Taxonomy and Species Description
    The Tamaulipan agapema (Agapema galbina), a member of the silk moth 
family, Saturniidae, is one of seven currently recognized species in 
the Agapema genus. Moths of this genus are typically black, gray, 
brown, and white, and have eyespots on all four wings (Powell and Opler 
2009, p. 240). Adult males' forewings are 0.9 to 1.1 inches (in) (25 to 
30 millimeters (mm)) long, while females typically have 1.1 to 1.3 in 
(30 to 34 mm) long forewings (Tuskes et al. 1996, p. 171). In many 
cases, it is difficult to distinguish between the species based on 
morphological (body structure) differences (Tuskes et al. 1996, p. 
171). However, the Tamaulipan agapema males have more white at the base 
of their forewing (the front wings on four-winged insects), which gives 
them a much lighter appearance than other species in the Agapema genus 
(Tuskes et al. 1996, p. 171). Another distinguishable feature of 
Tamualipan agapema is the males' antennae, which are shorter, slightly 
narrower, and lighter in color (almost yellow) than those of other 
Agapema species (Tuskes et al. 1996, p. 171). Also, compared to other 
species in the Agapema genus, minor differences in the male 
reproductive organs have been reported, but Tuskes et al. (1996, p. 
171) did not note what those differences are.
Distribution and Status
    Based on occurrence records from limited reports and survey 
efforts, the known distribution of the Tamaulipan agapema is from 
Cameron and Hidalgo Counties in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of south 
Texas to approximately 150 miles (241 kilometers) south into northern 
Tamaulipas, Mexico (Tuskes et al. 1996, p. 170). In Tamaulipas, Mexico, 
the Tamaulipan agapema was observed near Soto la Marina, about 150 
miles (mi) (241 kilometers (km)) south of the United States border 
(Tuskes et al. 1996, p. 170). Unfortunately, there are no records of 
the species occurring in the intervening 150 mi (241 km) between Soto 
la Marina and its closest known record of occurrence in Cameron County, 
Texas.
    We have no historic or current population estimates for this 
species. According to Tuskes et al. (1996, p. 170), this species was 
once fairly common, but ``has not been reported north of Mexico since 
the 1960s.'' Tuskes et al. (1996, p. 170) did not define the term 
``fairly common,'' so we do not know what this means in a numerical or 
geographical context of population estimates. Tuskes et al. (1996, p. 
170) also reported that attempts at searching for adults in areas that 
contain suitable habitat have been unsuccessful, but they did not give 
dates or the amount of survey effort that was involved. Wolfe (2010, 
pers. comm.) noted that when he visited a site west of Soto la Marina 
(in Mexico) in 1994 that there were ``hundreds of cocoons matted along 
the trunks'' of the host plant Condalia hookeri (brasil). Yet, when 
this site was visited again several years later, no cocoons were found 
(Wolfe 2010, pers. comm.). The information available does not allow us 
to assess whether the species is actually extirpated in the United 
States. We do not know if the limited survey efforts were thorough 
enough, conducted at the right time or in the right areas, or with 
enough frequency to actually document the species' occurrence. Failure 
to detect species when they are present is not uncommon in field 
surveys (Gu and Swihart 2004, p. 199). Failure to detect a species' 
presence in an occupied habitat patch is a common sampling problem when 
the population size is small, individuals are difficult to sample, or 
sampling effort is limited (Gu and Swihart 2004, p. 195). In the 
absence of information, we are unable to determine the species' current 
distribution and historic or current population estimates.
Habitat and Biology
    As adults, Tamaulipan agapema are nocturnal, do not feed as they 
have nonfunctional mouth parts, have only one brood per year, and are 
relatively short-lived (Powell and Opler 2009, p. 236). These moths fly 
from September to November, during which time they breed and lay eggs 
on Condalia hookeri (brasil) (Peigler and Kendall 1993, p. 5; Tuskes et 
al. 1996, p. 171). Eggs hatch in December and January, and larvae feed 
on C. hookeri (Peigler and Kendall 1993, p. 12). In a review of the 
genus Agapema, Peigler and Kendall (1993, p. 5) cited Collins and 
Weast's 1961 book Wild Silk Moths of the United States, Saturniinae, to 
report that cocoons of the Tamaulipan agapema have been observed in 
masses on Pithecellobium ebano (ebony) trees in the Rio Grande Valley 
of south Texas. Peigler and Kendall (1993, pp. 5, 12) also state that 
the larvae move from the C. hookeri shrubs to P. ebano to make their 
cocoons on the trunks. However, the larvae make their cocoons on C. 
hookeri as well as P. ebano. Wolfe (2010, pers. comm.) noted that when 
he visited a site west of Soto la Marina, Mexico, about 150 mi (241 km) 
south of the United States border, that there were ``hundreds of 
cocoons matted along the trunks'' of the host plant C. hookeri. It 
seems that Tamaulipan agapema are associated with C. hookeri and P. 
ebano during the early stages of their life cycle.
    Moths and butterflies are typically associated with host plants, 
and are often specifically linked to one or more plant species in order 
to complete their life cycle. As noted above, the known host plants of 
Tamualipan agapema are Condalia hookeri (brasil) and Pithecellobium 
ebano (ebony) trees (Peigler and Kendall 1993, p. 12). Both of these 
plants are part of the Tamaulipan thornscrub vegetative community. They 
are associated with the deep alluvial soils of the southern Rio Grande 
River, and are found in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas and 
Tamaulipas, Mexico (NatureServe 2003, pp. 1-2). Both plants are 
prevalent in residential settings, because they are deliberately 
planted or started by bird droppings (Cobb 2011, pers. comm.).
    Because the host plants are prevalent in residential settings, it 
may be possible for the Tamaulipan agapema to live in an urban 
environment. Peigler and Kendall (1993, p. 4) noted that adults of this 
species were often collected at night near artificial light

[[Page 59626]]

sources in the Brownsville area. However, we do not know if this 
species was residing on host plants transplanted into the residential 
area of Brownsville or if it was drawn to the artificial lights from a 
nearby native Tamaulipan thornscrub habitat.

Five-Factor Evaluation for the Tamaulipan Agapema

    In making this finding, information pertaining to the Tamaulipan 
agapema in relation to the five factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of 
the Act is discussed below.

Factor A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or 
Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range

    We evaluate historic threats in respect to current and future 
populations, because historic threats can be evidence of current or 
future threats if those activities, or effects of those activities, are 
still occurring in such a way that current or future populations are 
being significantly affected. We use the best available scientific and 
commercial information to make reasonable connections between the 
historic impacts and current or future declines of the species in order 
to determine whether the species is in danger of extinction now or in 
the foreseeable future. The mere identification of factors that could 
negatively impact a species is not sufficient to compel a finding that 
listing is warranted. We require evidence that these factors are 
operative threats that act on the species to the point that the species 
meets the definition of endangered or threatened under the Act. 
Potential factors that may affect the habitat or range of the 
Tamaulipan agapema are (1) Agricultural development, (2) urban 
development, and (3) climate change.
Agricultural Development
    The loss of Tamaulipan thornscrub habitat has occurred historically 
within the Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas and northern 
Tamaulipas, Mexico. With the conversion of Tamaulipan thornscrub to 
agricultural field crops and urban areas, only about 5 percent of the 
native vegetation remained in the Lower Rio Grande Valley by the 1980s 
(Jahrsdoerfer and Leslie 1988, p. 1). Much of the habitat loss that has 
occurred has been attributed to agricultural development (Tremblay et 
al. 2005, p. 479). In the context of this finding, we consider 
agricultural development to be the conversion of native habitat to 
agricultural croplands. In Cameron County, Texas, Tremblay et al. 
(2005, p. 481) noted that approximately 75 percent of native habitat 
loss was due to agricultural development. Tremblay et al. (2005, p. 
481) also noted that the extent of overall habitat loss had occurred by 
1983. Subsequently, Jurado et al. (1999, p. 272) noted that over 90 
percent of Tamaulipan thornscrub in northeastern Mexico has been 
cleared for agriculture or to create grasslands for cattle, but they 
did not give a date by when this loss had occurred. Where the 
conversion of native Tamaulipan thornscrub habitat to agricultural 
field crops has occurred, it has resulted in habitat loss for the 
Tamaulipan agapema because its host plants, Condalia hookeri (brasil) 
and Pithecellobium ebano (ebony), are no longer available. Tremblay et 
al. (2005, p. 481) noted that the extent of overall habitat loss had 
occurred by 1983 in Cameron County, Texas, and Jurado et al. (1999, p. 
272) did not give a date by when habitat loss had occurred in 
northeastern Mexico. Because we have no information to indicate that 
additional conversion of native habitat to agricultural croplands has 
occurred since the 1980s, we have no evidence that it will happen in 
the foreseeable future.
    While there may have been historical impacts to the Tamaulipan 
agapema from agricultural development due to its host plants being 
removed for crop fields, the magnitude of historic, current, or future 
threats from this activity is difficult to determine, because we have 
no historic or current population estimates with which to make a 
comparison, other than anecdotal reports. The information available 
does not allow us to assess the extent to which the Tamaulipan agapema 
occurred throughout the Tamaulipan thornscrub, or if the loss of 
habitat has caused a decline in population numbers. However, we have 
information to indicate that its host plants, which are associated with 
Tamaulipan thornscrub, have been lost to some extent. But, we have no 
information to indicate that additional conversion of native habitat to 
agricultural croplands has occurred since the 1980s, and we have no 
evidence that it will happen in the foreseeable future. Tremblay et al. 
(2005, p. 481) noted that the extent of overall habitat loss in Cameron 
County, Texas, had occurred by 1983, and Jurado et al. (1999, p. 272) 
did not give a date when overall habitat loss had occurred in 
northeastern Mexico. In the absence of information, we are unable to 
evaluate the historic loss of habitat with respect to current 
population numbers. Historic threats can be evidence of current or 
future threats if those activities, or effects of those activities, are 
still occurring in such a way that current or future populations will 
decline to the point of extinction. Because we lack sufficient 
information related to habitat loss and Tamaulipan agapema population 
numbers, we are not able to determine whether agricultural development 
may be a threat to the species. Therefore, based on the best available 
information, which does not indicate that habitat loss due to 
agricultural development is occurring now or likely to occur in the 
remaining areas of native habitat, we do not consider agricultural 
development to be a current or future threat to the Tamaulipan agapema.
Urban Development
    As previously noted, urban development was identified as a cause 
for the loss of native Tamaulipan thornscrub in the Lower Rio Grande 
Valley (Jahrsdoerfer and Leslie 1988, p. 1). The human population in 
the Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas increased by 40 percent from 
1990 to 2000, compared to an increase of 13 percent throughout the 
United States during the same period (Murdock et al. 2002, p. 34). 
Human population levels in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas are 
projected to increase by between 130 and 181 percent from 2000 to 2040 
(Murdock et al. 2002, pp. 40-43). As the human population grows, it is 
reasonable to expect a concurrent increase in urban development. Many 
areas where this species was once found in south Texas, such as the 
Esperanza Ranch near Brownsville, Texas, have been converted to 
residential subdivisions (Tuskes et al. 1996, p. 170).
    However, there is an absence of information that allows us to make 
a reasonable connection between impacts of urban development and 
current or future declines of Tamaulipa agapema. Pockets of habitat may 
remain along roadways and on private land (Tuskes et al. 1996, p. 170). 
Also, the known host plants, Condalia hookeri (brasil) and 
Pithecellobium ebano (ebony) trees, are prevalent in residential 
settings, because they are intentionally planted or started by bird 
droppings (Cobb 2011, pers. comm.). Peigler and Kendall (1993, p. 4) 
noted that this species was often collected at night near artificial 
light sources, so it may be able to live in urban areas. But, we do not 
know whether or not the species may survive in urban areas. Because we 
lack sufficient information regarding this species' biology, we are 
unable to conclude whether residential areas can harbor adequate 
habitat patches. In the

[[Page 59627]]

absence of information that allows us to assess the impacts of urban 
development on current or future declines of Tamaulipan agapema, we 
have no evidence linking urban development with Tamaulipan agapema's 
population status.
    Furthermore, most of the remaining woodland areas of the Lower Rio 
Grande Valley within the United States are managed by the Service's 
National Wildlife Refuge System and other resource agencies and 
organizations (Tremblay et al. 2005, pp. 481-482). During the period 
1979-2009, the South Texas Refuge Complex, which consists of Santa Ana, 
Laguna Atascosa, and the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife 
Refuges, has acquired over 106,000 ac (42,896 ha) of land via fee title 
or conservation easements in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas to 
create habitat corridors between pre-existing lands of Santa Ana and 
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuges (Service 2011, pp. 1-2). In 
addition to acquiring land, the South Texas Refuge Complex has 
replanted over 9,000 ac (3,642 ha) of agricultural land with over 
2,750,000 native plant species, including the Tamaulipan agapema's host 
plants, Condalia hookeri (brasil) and Pithecellobium ebano (ebony). In 
Cameron and Hidalgo Counties alone, the South Texas Refuge Complex 
currently manages 140,661ac (56,923 ha) of native habitat (Sternberg 
2011, pers. comm., p. 1), which is protected from urban development.
    In summary, urban development may have resulted in some historic 
habitat loss for the Tamaulipan agapema, but there is no information 
that allows us to make a reasonable connection between impacts of urban 
development and current or future declines of the species. Urban 
development is expected to occur over the next 30 years in the Lower 
Rio Grande Valley of south Texas, but we have no information that it 
will occur in the remaining woodland areas of the Lower Rio Grande 
Valley within the United States or at a rate or magnitude that would 
result in population-level impacts. Because most of the remaining 
woodland areas of the Lower Rio Grande Valley within the United States 
are managed by the Service's National Wildlife Refuge System and other 
resource agencies and organizations (Tremblay et al. 2005, pp. 481-
482), we expect that current and future urban development will occur on 
agricultural lands that have already been cleared of native vegetation. 
Also, this species' host plants are prevalent in residential settings 
and much of the remaining woodland areas managed by the Service's 
National Wildlife Refuge System. Therefore, in the absence of 
information that allows us to assess the impacts of urban development 
on current or future declines of Tamaulipan agapema, we concluded that 
urban development is not a threat to the Tamaulipan agapema now or in 
the foreseeable future.
Climate Change
    Consideration of the effects of climate change is a component of 
our analyses of species under the Endangered Species Act. Here we 
provide a brief overview of the general topic of climate change as a 
way of providing a broad context for the more detailed consideration 
that follows with respect to the Tamaulipan agapema.
    Described in general terms, ``climate'' refers to average weather 
conditions, as well as associated variability, over a long period of 
time (e.g. decades, centuries, or thousands of years). Climate 
variables most often described are temperature and precipitation, and 
the typical period for calculating the mean of these properties is 20 
or 30 years. The term ``climate change'' thus refers to a change in the 
state of the climate (whether due to natural variability, human 
activity, or both) that can be identified by changes in the mean or 
variability of its properties and that persists for an extended 
period--typically decades or longer. (See Intergovernmental Panel on 
Climate Change (IPCC), 2007a, pp. 30, 78, for technical definitions 
that are the basis for our description of these terms.)
    Analyses of observed trends in climate demonstrate that climate 
change is occurring, as illustrated by examples such as an increase in 
the global mean surface air temperature (SAT) (``global warming''), 
substantial increases in precipitation in some regions of the world and 
decreases in other regions, and increases in tropical cyclone activity 
in some oceanic areas (IPCC 2007a, p. 30). Because relatively small but 
sustained changes in temperature can have substantial direct and 
indirect effects on natural processes and human populations, 
temperature is one of the most widely used indicators of climate 
change. Based on extensive analyses, the IPCC concluded that warming of 
the global climate system over the past several decades is 
``unequivocal'' (IPCC 2007a, p. 2). These changes in global climate are 
affecting many natural systems (see IPCC 2007a, pp. 2-4, 30-33 for 
global and regional examples, and Global Climate Change Impacts in the 
United States (GCCIUS) 2009, pp. 27, 79-88, for examples in the United 
States).
    Analyses of natural variability in climate conditions and the 
effects of human activities led the IPCC to conclude that most of the 
increase in global mean surface air temperature that has been observed 
since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase 
in greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations related to human activities, 
particularly emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel use (IPCC 
2007a, p. 5 and Figure SPM.3). Extensive analyses point to continued 
changes in climate and considerable efforts are occurring to make 
projections of the magnitude, rate, and variability of future changes 
and to understand the mechanisms underlying them, including the role of 
greenhouse gases.
    Projections by the IPCC in 2007 for climate change for the earth as 
a whole and for broad regions were based on simulations from more than 
20 Atmospheric-Ocean General Circulation Models used in conjunction 
with various scenarios of different levels and timing of greenhouse gas 
emissions (Randall et al. 2007, pp. 596-599; Meehl et al. 2007, pp. 
753-796; Christensen et al. 2007, pp. 847--917). The emissions 
scenarios were developed in the late 1990s and described in the Special 
Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) published in 2000 (Carter et al. 
2007, p. 160 and references therein). The scenarios span a broad range 
of potential GHG emissions over the coming decades based on a wide 
spectrum of economic, technological, and human demographic 
possibilities for the planet; the SRES made no judgment as to which of 
the scenarios are more likely to occur, and although they cover a very 
broad range it is possible that emissions could be higher or lower than 
the range covered by the scenarios.
    The IPCC's projections of change in global mean warming (global 
annual mean surface air temperature (SAT)) and how they differ over 
time across emissions scenarios as compared to the observed SAT 
from1980-1999, are described by Meehl et al. (2007, pp. 760-764). 
Several key points emerge from their projections. First, the projected 
changes in magnitude of warming are similar under all emissions 
scenarios to about 2030 and to some degree even to about mid-Century 
although more divergence is evident then, and the divergence continues 
to increase over time, i.e., in the near-term the projections differ by 
only 0.05[deg] C (0.09[deg] F), but by the last decade of the century 
the difference across scenarios is 1.6[deg] C (0.9[deg] F); as noted by 
Cox and Stephenson (2007, p. 208) total uncertainty in projected 
decadal mean

[[Page 59628]]

temperature is lowest 30 to 50 years in the future. Second, the 
magnitude of projected warming increases across each scenario including 
the lowest emission scenario, under which projected average change in 
SAT increases from 0.66 [deg] C (1.19[deg] F) in the near term to 
1.8[deg] C (3.24[deg] F) for the last decade of the century. Third, the 
pattern of projected increases is relatively consistent whether 
considering the average across all models for a given scenario or the 
projections from the individual models, including consideration of 
 one standard deviation around the mean projection for each 
scenario (see Meehl et al. 2007, pp. 762-763, Figures 10.4 and 10.5, 
and Table 10.5). Thus although differences in projections reflect some 
uncertainty about the precise magnitude of warming, we conclude there 
is little uncertainty that warming will continue through the end of 
century, even under the lower emissions scenario. We note also that 
more recent analyses using additional global models and comparing other 
emissions scenarios have resulted in projections of global temperature 
change that are similar to those reported in 2007 by the IPCC (Prinn et 
al. 2011, pp. 527, 529).
    While projections from global climate model simulations are 
informative, their resolution is coarse and it is helpful to have 
higher-resolution projections that are more relevant to the spatial 
scales used for various assessments involving climate change. Various 
methods to ``downscale'' climate information have been developed to 
generate projections that are more specific to regional or relatively 
local areas (see Glick et al. 2011, pp. 58-61 for a summary description 
of downscaling). In conducting status assessments of species, we use 
downscaled projections when they are the best scientific information 
available regarding future climate change.
    However, we have no information for the local geographic area of 
south Texas or northern Mexico. While it appears reasonable to assume 
that climate change will occur within the range of the Tamaulipan 
agapema, we lack sufficient information to know specifically how 
climate change may affect the species or its habitat. We have not 
identified, nor are we aware of, any data on an appropriate scale to 
evaluate habitat or population trends for the species, or to make 
predictions on future trends and whether the species will actually be 
impacted. Therefore, we have no evidence to conclude that climate 
change is a threat to the Tamaulipan agapema now or in the foreseeable 
future.
Summary of Factor A
    Based on the best available information, the Tamaulipan agapema's 
current and historical population size and distribution are unknown. 
Because we have no historic or current population estimates for the 
Tamaulipan agapema, we are unable to correlate land use impacts with 
current or future species' abundance. While the loss of Tamaulipan 
thrornscrub habitat has occurred historically, there is an absence of 
information that allows us to make a reasonable connection between the 
impacts of habitat loss and current or future declines of the species. 
We have no evidence that current or future urban development will 
result in detrimental impacts to the Tamaulipan agapema or its habitat. 
The information available does not allow us to assess the magnitude of 
impacts from urban development on the species, nor the extent of the 
occupied range. Also, we lack sufficient certainty to know specifically 
how climate change affects the species now or in the foreseeable 
future. Therefore, we conclude that the Tamaulipan agapema is not 
threatened by the destruction, modification, or curtailment of its 
habitat or range now or likely to become so.

Factor B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    There is no information suggesting that overutilization for 
commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes pose a 
threat to the species. Therefore, we find that the Tamaulipan agapema 
is not threatened by overutilization now or likely to become so.

Factor C. Disease or Predation

    The Tamaulipan agapema may be preyed upon by natural predators at 
various life stages. In 1961 in a suburb of Brownsville, Texas, large 
ants were observed preying upon Tamaulipan agapema cocoon masses in 
Pithecellobium ebano (ebony) trees (Peigler and Kendall 1993, p. 5). At 
that time, the impact of ants on populations of this moth was 
undetermined (Peigler and Kendall 1993, p. 5). While predation by ants 
may occur on Tamaulipan agapema cocoon masses, we have no information 
that the loss of cocoon masses presents a threat to the species. In 
fact, we have no information linking ant predation to Tamaulipan 
agapema population estimates.
    Parasitic flies, such as Euphorocera sp. and Lespesia sp., have 
also been reported to prey on the Tamaulipan agapema (Peigler and 
Kendall 1993, p. 18). However, there is no information on the extent or 
level of impact that parasitic flies have had on the species.
    In summary, although predation by ants and parasitic flies may be 
occurring, we have no information to indicate that they are occurring 
at levels that result in negative impacts to the species. Therefore, in 
the absence of evidence that predation or disease may constitute 
threats to the species, we conclude that the Tamaulipan agapema is not 
threatened by disease or predation now or likely to become so.

Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    We are not aware of any existing regulatory mechanisms that protect 
the Tamaulipan agapema or its habitat in the United States or Mexico. 
However, because we have not identified any threat to the species under 
the other four listing factors that would require regulatory 
protection, we do not find that the absence of regulatory mechanisms 
constitutes an independent threat to the species. Therefore, we find 
that the Tamaulipan agapema is not threatened by the inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms now or likely to become so.

Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued 
Existence

Pesticide Use
    We looked at pesticides as a potential factor that has an impact on 
the Tamaulipan agapema, due to the extent of agricultural croplands 
that occur within the range of the species. The Lower Rio Grande Valley 
of Texas is a major agriculture production area, with over 75 percent 
of its geographic area devoted to cropland (White et al. 1983, p. 331; 
Wainwright et al. 2001, p. 101). As in many agricultural areas, 
pesticides are commonly used on croplands, and have been found at 
relatively high levels in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (White et al. 
1983, p. 325; Wainwright et al. 2001, p. 109). However, pesticides have 
not been linked to population declines of the Tamaulipan agapema. We 
have no information to indicate that the Tamaulipan agapema use 
croplands and are thus exposed to pesticides. Because we have no link 
between pesticide use and population abundance, we have no evidence 
that the Tamaulipan agapema is threatened by pesticide use now or 
likely to become so.
Small Population Size
    Historical habitat loss due to agricultural development may have 
reduced the Tamaulipan agapema's

[[Page 59629]]

range to small, isolated patches of habitat. In many cases, small, 
isolated populations are subject to increased risk of extinction from 
stochastic (random) environmental, genetic, or demographic events 
(Brewer 1994, p. 616). Environmental changes, such as drought or severe 
storms, can have severe consequences if affected populations are small 
and clumped together (Brewer 1994, p. 616). Loss of genetic diversity 
can lead to inbreeding depression and an increased risk of extinction 
(Allendorf and Luikart 2007, pp. 338-343). Populations with small 
effective size show reductions in population growth rates, loss of 
genetic variability, and increases in extinction probabilities (Leberg 
1990, p. 194; Jimenez et al. 1994, p. 272; Allendorf and Luikart 2007, 
pp. 338-339). Because the information available does not allow us to 
assess historic or current population estimates, nor the extent of the 
species' current range, we are not able to determine if the species' 
range has been reduced to small, isolated patches of habitat.
    Additionally, there is no information to indicate that Tamaulipan 
agapema population numbers or population dynamics are vulnerable to the 
effects of small populations. We have no information to estimate 
historic or current population sizes for this species. We have no 
information on the number of individuals, population dynamics, or 
evidence of genetic structuring and inbreeding for the Tamaulipan 
agapema. Additionally, we do not currently have sufficient information 
on environmental or any other factors to know whether they affect the 
species to an extent that a threat exists. The information available 
does not allow us to assess the magnitude or immediacy of these impacts 
on the species. We have no information that allows us to make a 
reasonable connection between the impacts of stochastic (random) 
environmental, genetic, or demographic events and current or future 
declines of the Tamaulipan agapema. We have no evidence that Tamaulipan 
agapema is threatened by small population size now or likely to become 
so.
Summary of Factor E
    In summary, based on the best available information, we have no 
evidence that natural or other manmade factors are likely to 
significantly threaten the existence of the Tamaulipan agapema. We have 
no information to indicate that the Tamaulipan agapema uses croplands 
and is exposed to pesticides. Also, we have no information on historic 
or current population sizes, so we are unable to determine if there may 
be inherent vulnerabilities of small populations and restricted 
geographic range. Therefore, we find that the Tamaulipan agapema is not 
threatened by natural or other manmade factors now or likely to become 
so.

Finding for the Tamaulipan Agapema

    As required by the Act, we considered the five factors in assessing 
whether the Tamaulipan agapema is endangered or threatened throughout 
all of its range. We examined the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
faced by the Tamaulipan agapema. We reviewed the petition, information 
available in our files, other available published and unpublished 
information, and we consulted with recognized moth experts and State 
agencies. We evaluated historic threats with respect to current and 
future populations, and used the best available scientific and 
commercial information to make reasonable connections between the 
historic impacts and current or future declines of the species, in 
order determine whether the species is in danger of extinction now or 
in the foreseeable future. The mere identification of factors that 
could negatively impact a species is not sufficient to compel a finding 
that listing is appropriate. We require evidence that these factors are 
operative threats that act on the species to the point that the species 
meets the definition of endangered or threatened under the Act.
    Based on the best available information, there may have been 
historical impacts to the Tamualipan agapema from agricultural 
development, which is the conversion of native Tamaulipan thornscrub 
habitat to cropland; but in the absence of information, we are unable 
to determine the magnitude of historic, current, or future threats from 
this activity. The small amount of information available is not 
sufficient to assess the extent to which the Tamaulipan agapema's range 
may have been reduced, or if the loss of habitat has caused a decline 
in population numbers. Also, we have no information to indicate that 
the conversion of native habitat is occurring now or in the foreseeable 
future. Historic habitat loss can be evidence of current or future 
threats if those activities, or effects of those activities, are still 
occurring in such a way that current or future populations will decline 
to the point of extinction. In the absence of information that allows 
us to make a reasonable connection between historic habitat loss and 
current or future declines of the species, we have determined that 
Tamaulipan agapema is not in danger of extinction now or in the 
foreseeable future due to agricultural development.
    Urban development is expected to occur as human populations in 
Texas continue to increase, but we have no information that it will 
occur in the remaining woodland areas of the Lower Rio Grande Valley 
within the United States. Also, we do not have the information needed 
to assess whether climate change is a threat to this species. And, we 
have no evidence that overutilization, predation, disease, inadequacy 
of existing regulatory mechanisms, pesticide use, and small population 
size are threats to the species. In the absence of information that 
allows us to make a reasonable connection between the impacts of these 
activities and current or future declines of the Tamaulipan agapema, we 
conclude that this species is not in danger of extinction now or in the 
foreseeable future due to any of these factors.
    Therefore, based on our review of the best available scientific and 
commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the 
potential threats are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or 
magnitude to indicate that Tamaulipan agapema is in danger of 
extinction (endangered), or likely to become endangered within the 
foreseeable future (threatened), throughout all of its range.

Significant Portion of the Range

    Having determined that Tamaulipan agapema is not in danger of 
extinction or likely to become so throughout its range, we must next 
consider whether there are any significant portions of the range where 
it is in danger of extinction or is likely to become endangered in the 
foreseeable future.
    In determining whether Tamaulipan agapema is endangered or 
threatened in a significant portion of its range, we first addressed 
whether any portions of the range warrant further consideration. We 
evaluated the current range of Tamaulipan agapema to determine if there 
is any apparent geographic concentration of the primary stressors 
potentially affecting the species, such as habitat loss, climate 
change, predation, pesticide use, and small population size. However, 
we found the stressors are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, 
magnitude, or geographic concentration that would warrant evaluating 
whether a portion of the range is significant under the Act. We do not 
find that Tamaulipan agapema is in danger of extinction now, nor is it

[[Page 59630]]

likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future, throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range. Therefore, listing 
Tamualipan agapema as endangered or threatened under the Act is not 
warranted at this time.
    We request that you submit any new information concerning the 
status of, or threats to, the Tamaulipan agapema to our Corpus Christi 
Ecological Services Field Office (see ADDRESSES) whenever it becomes 
available. New information will help us monitor the species and 
encourage its conservation. If an emergency situation develops for 
Tamaulipan agapema, or any other species, we will act to provide 
immediate protection.

Species Information for Sphingicampa blanchardi (No Common Name)

Taxonomy and Species Description
    Sphingicampa blanchardi is another silk moth that occurs in the 
family Saturniidae (Tuskes et al. 1996; p. 88). Three other 
Sphingicampa species occur sympatrically (they occupy the same or 
overlapping geographic areas, but do not interbreed) with S. 
blanchardi. Sphingicampa blanchardi is distinguished from these related 
species by its brown-to-light-yellow forewings with shades of pink 
(Tuskes et al. 1996, p. 89). Sphingicampa blanchardi males have 0.9 to 
1.1 in (24 to 28 mm) long forewings, and females have 1.2 to 1.4 in (31 
to 36 mm) long forewings (Tuskes et al. 1996, p. 89).
Distribution and Status
    Sphingicampa blanchardi is known to occur in a few isolated 
localities in Cameron and Hidalgo Counties, Texas (Ferguson 1971, pp. 
49-50; E. Riley 2010, pers. comm., pp. 1-2; Tuskes et al. 1996, p. 88). 
This moth is commonly found at the Audubon Palm Grove Sanctuary in 
Cameron County, Texas, and is also known from a few other localities 
along the United States and Mexico border in south Texas, such as the 
Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge (Ferguson 1971, p. 50; E. Knudson 
2010, pers. comm., p. 1). The range of the moth likely extends into 
Mexico; however, despite survey efforts, no occurrences have been 
documented in Mexico (Ferguson 1971, pp. 49-50). However, failure to 
detect species when they are present is not uncommon in field surveys 
(Gu and Swihart 2004, p. 199).
    Although this moth has been reported to be commonly found at the 
Audubon Palm Grove Sanctuary, Cameron County, Texas (Ferguson 1971, p. 
50; E. Knudson 2010, pers. comm., p. 1), we have no historic or current 
population estimates for this species. In the absence of information, 
we are unable to determine the species' current distribution and 
historic or current population estimates.
Habitat and Biology
    Little is known regarding the habitat and biology of Sphingicampa 
blanchardi, and the majority of this information can be found in the 
book titled Wild Silk Moths of North America, by Tuskes et al. (1996, 
pp. 88-90). Within this book, it is noted that adults are associated 
with Pithecellobium ebano (ebony) woodland communities, and larvae 
raised in captivity are known to feed on several legume trees (trees 
that produce seed pods) associated with P. ebano woodlands, such as 
Acacia farnesiana (huisache), Leucaena pulverulenta (tepeguiaje), and 
Pithecellobium flexicaule (ebony) (Tuskes et al. 1996; p. 88). As noted 
above for Tamaulipan agapema, moths are typically associated with host 
plants, and are often specifically linked to one or more plant species 
in order to complete their life cycle. However, we do not know if S. 
blanchardi are like other moth species that are often specifically 
linked to one or more plant species.

Five-Factor Evaluation for Sphingicampa blanchardi

    In making this finding, information pertaining to the Sphingicampa 
blanchardi in relation to the five factors provided in section 4(a)(1) 
of the Act is discussed below.

Factor A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or 
Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range

    We evaluate historic threats in respect to current and future 
populations, because historic threats can be evidence of current or 
future threats if those activities, or effects of those activities, are 
still occurring in such a way that current or future populations are 
being significantly affected. We use the best available scientific and 
commercial information to make reasonable connections between the 
historic impacts and current or future declines of the species in order 
to determine whether the species is in danger of extinction now or in 
the foreseeable future. The mere identification of factors that could 
negatively impact a species is not sufficient to compel a finding that 
listing is appropriate. We require evidence that these factors are 
operative threats that act on the species to the point that the species 
meets the definition of endangered or threatened under the Act. 
Potential factors that may affect the habitat or range of the S. 
blanchardi are discussed in this section, including: (1) Agricultural 
development, (2) urban development, and (3) climate change.
Agricultural Development
    The loss of Tamaulipan thornscrub habitat has occurred historically 
within the Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas and northern 
Tamaulipas, Mexico. With the conversion of Tamaulipan thornscrub to 
agricultural field crops and urban areas, it has only about 5 percent 
of the native vegetation remaining in the Lower Rio Grande Valley by 
the 1980s (Jahrsdoerfer and Leslie 1988, p. 1). Much of the habitat 
loss that has occurred has been attributed to agricultural development 
(Tremblay et al. 2005, p. 479). In the context of this finding, we 
consider agricultural development to be the conversion of native 
habitat to agricultural croplands. In Cameron County, Texas, Tremblay 
et al. (2005, p. 481) noted that approximately 75 percent of native 
habitat loss was due to agricultural development. Tremblay et al. 
(2005, p. 481) also noted that the extent of overall habitat loss had 
occurred by 1983. Subsequently, Jurado et al. (1999, p. 272) noted that 
over 90 percent of Tamaulipan thornscrub in northeastern Mexico has 
been cleared for agriculture or to create grasslands for cattle, but 
they did not give a date by when this loss had occurred. Where the 
conversion of native Tamaulipan thornscrub habitat to agricultural 
field crops has occurred, it is reasonable to assume that habitat loss 
for the Sphingicampa blanchardi has occurred because the native plant 
species are no longer available. However, we have no information to 
indicate that additional conversion of native habitat to agricultural 
croplands has occurred since the 1980s, and we have no evidence that it 
will happen in the foreseeable future.
    While there may have been historical impacts to the Sphingicampa 
blanchardi from agricultural development, the magnitude of historic, 
current, or future threats from this activity is difficult to 
determine, because we have no historic or current population estimates 
with which to make a comparison. The information available does not 
allow us to assess the extent to which the S. blanchardi occurred 
throughout the Tamaulipan thornscrub, or if the loss of habitat has 
caused a decline in population numbers. Also, we have no information to 
indicate that additional conversion of native habitat to agricultural 
croplands

[[Page 59631]]

has occurred since the 1980s, and we have no evidence that it will 
happen in the foreseeable future. Tremblay et al. (2005, p. 481) noted 
that the extent of overall habitat loss had occurred by 1983 in Cameron 
County, Texas, and Jurado et al. (1999, p. 272) did not give a date by 
when habitat loss had occurred in northeastern Mexico. In the absence 
of information, we are unable to evaluate the historic loss of habitat 
with respect to current population numbers. Historic threats can be 
evidence of current or future threats if those activities, or effects 
of those activities, are still occurring in such a way that current or 
future populations will decline to the point of extinction. Because we 
lack sufficient information related to habitat loss and S. blanchardi 
population numbers, we are not able to determine whether habitat loss 
due to agricultural development may be a threat to the species. 
Therefore, based on the best available information, the loss of 
Tamaulipan thornscrub due to agricultural development does not seem to 
have caused a decline in S. blanchardi to the point of extinction. 
Although we lack the information to determine historic or current 
population estimates, this moth has been reported to be commonly found 
at certain localities, such as the Audubon Palm Grove Sanctuary 
(Ferguson 1971, p. 50; E. Knudson 2010, pers. comm., p. 1). Therefore, 
we do not consider agricultural development to be a current or future 
threat to S. blanchardi.
Urban Development
    As previously noted for Tamualipan agapema above, urban development 
was identified as a cause for the loss of Tamaulipan thornscrub in the 
Lower Rio Grande Valley (Jahrsdoerfer and Leslie 1988, p. 1). The human 
population in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas increased by 
40 percent from 1990 to 2000, compared to an increase of 13 percent 
throughout the United States during the same period (Murdock et al. 
2002, p. 34). Human population levels in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of 
Texas are projected to increase by between 130 and 181 percent from 
2000 to 2040 (Murdock et al. 2002, pp. 40-43). As the human population 
grows, it is reasonable to expect a concurrent increase in urban 
development. As noted for the for Tamualipan agapema, many areas in the 
Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas where similar species of moths 
once were found have been converted to residential subdivisions (Tuskes 
et al. 1996, p. 170). However, there is no information demonstrating a 
reasonable connection between impacts of urban development and current 
or future declines of Sphingicampa blanchardi. Pockets of habitat may 
remain along roadways and on private land (Tuskes et al. 1996, p. 170). 
But, we do not know whether or not the species may survive in these 
pockets of habitat within urban areas. Because we lack sufficient 
information regarding the species' biology, we are unable to conclude 
whether urban areas can harbor adequate habitat patches. In the absence 
of information that allows us to assess the impacts of urban 
development on current or future declines of S. blanchardi, we have no 
evidence linking urban development with the species' population status.
    Furthermore, most of the remaining woodland areas of the Lower Rio 
Grande Valley within the United States are managed by the Service's 
National Wildlife Refuge System and other resource agencies and 
organizations (Tremblay et al. 2005, pp. 481-482). The South Texas 
Refuge Complex--which consists of Santa Ana, Laguna Atascosa, and the 
Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuges--during the period 
1979-2009, has acquired over 106,000 ac (42,896 ha) of land via fee 
title or conservation easements in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas 
to create habitat corridors between pre-existing lands of Santa Ana and 
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuges (Service 2011, pp. 1-2). In 
addition to acquiring land, the South Texas Refuge Complex has 
replanted over 9,000 ac (3,642 ha) of agricultural land with over 
2,750,000 native Tamaulipan thornscrub plant species. In Cameron and 
Hidalgo Counties alone, the South Texas Refuge Complex currently 
manages 140,661 ac (56,923 ha) of native habitat (Sternberg 2011, pers. 
comm., p. 1), which is protected from urban development.
    In summary, urban development may have resulted in some historic 
habitat loss for the Sphingicampa blanchardi, but there is no 
information that allows us to make a reasonable connection between 
impacts of urban development and current or future declines of the 
species. Urban development is expected to occur over the next 30 years 
in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas, but we have no 
information that it will occur in the remaining woodland areas or at a 
rate or magnitude that would result in population level impacts. 
Because most of the remaining woodland areas of the Lower Rio Grande 
Valley within the United States are managed by the Service's National 
Wildlife Refuge System and other resource agencies and organizations 
(Tremblay et al. 2005, pp. 481-482), we expect that current and future 
urban development will occur on agricultural lands that have already 
been cleared of native vegetation. Therefore, in the absence of 
information that allows us to assess the impacts of urban development 
on current or future declines of S. blanchardi, we concluded that urban 
development is not a threat to the S. blanchardi now or likely to 
become so.
Climate Change
    For a more detailed description of how we consider the effects of 
climate change as a component of our analyses of species under the Act, 
please see Factor A, Climate Change, above under the Tamaulipan 
agapema. In regards to the Sphingicampa blanchardi, we have no 
information for the local geographic area of south Texas or northern 
Mexico. While it appears reasonable to assume that climate change will 
occur within the range of the Sphingicampa blanchardi, we lack 
sufficient information to know specifically how climate change may 
affect the species. We have not identified, nor are we aware of, any 
data on an appropriate scale to evaluate habitat or population trends 
for the species, or to make predictions on future trends and whether 
the species will actually be impacted. Therefore, we have no evidence 
to conclude that climate change is a threat to the S. blanchardi now or 
likely to become so.
Summary of Factor A
    Based on the best available information, the Sphingicampa 
blanchardi's current and historical population size and distribution 
are unknown. Because we have no historic or current population 
estimates for S. blanchardi, we are unable to correlate land use 
impacts with current or future species abundance, and, therefore, are 
unable to determine if those impacts would cause the species to decline 
to the point of extinction. While the loss of native Tamaulipan 
thornscrub has occurred historically, there is an absence of 
information that allows us to make a reasonable connection between the 
impacts of habitat loss and current or future declines of the species. 
We have no evidence that current or future urban development will 
result in detrimental impacts to S. blanchardi or its habitat. The 
information available does not allow us to assess the magnitude of 
impacts from urban development on the species, nor the extent of the 
occupied range. Also, we lack sufficient certainty to know specifically 
how climate change affects the species now or in the foreseeable 
future. Therefore, we conclude that the

[[Page 59632]]

Tamaulipan agapema is not threatened by destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range now or likely to become so.

Factor B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    There is no information suggesting that overutilization for 
commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes poses a 
threat to the species. Therefore, we find that the Sphingicampa 
blanchardi is not threatened by overutilization now or likely ot become 
so.

Factor C. Disease or Predation

    We have no information to indicate that the Sphingicampa blanchardi 
is subject to disease or predation. Therefore, we find that S. 
blanchardi is not threatened by disease or predation now or likely to 
become so.

Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    We are not aware of any existing regulatory mechanisms that protect 
Sphingicampa blanchardi or its habitat in the United States or Mexico. 
However, because we have not identified any threat to the species under 
the other four listing factors requiring regulatory protection, we do 
not find that the absence of regulatory mechanisms constitutes an 
independent threat to the species. Therefore, we find that the S. 
blanchardi is not threatened by the inadequacy of existing regulations 
now or likely to become so.

Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued 
Existence

Pesticide Use
    We looked at pesticides as a potential factor that has an impact on 
the Sphingicampa blanchardi due to the extent of agricultural croplands 
that occur within the range of the species. The Lower Rio Grande Valley 
of Texas is a major agriculture production area (White et al. 1983, p. 
331; Wainwright et al. 2001, p. 101), and pesticides have been found at 
relatively high levels in this area (White et al. 1983, p. 325; 
Wainwright et al. 2001, p. 109). However, we are not aware of any S. 
blanchardi mortalities that have resulted from the use of pesticides, 
or any information linking pesticides to population declines of the S. 
blanchardi. We have no information that S. blanchardi use croplands and 
are thus exposed to pesticides. Because we have no link between 
pesticide use and population abundance, we have no evidence that the S. 
blanchardi is threatened by pesticide use now or likely to beome so.
Small Population Size
    The historical loss of Tamaulipan thornscrub habitat due to 
agricultural development may have reduced the Sphingicampa blanchardi's 
range to small, isolated patches of habitat, but we have no information 
on where or how many may occur. In many cases, small, isolated 
populations are subject to increased risk of extinction from stochastic 
(random) environmental, genetic, or demographic events (Brewer 1994, p. 
616). Environmental changes, such as drought or severe storms, can have 
severe consequences if affected populations are small and clumped 
together (Brewer 1994, p. 616). Loss of genetic diversity can lead to 
inbreeding depression and an increased risk of extinction (Allendorf 
and Luikart 2007, pp. 338-343). Populations with small effective size 
show reductions in population growth rates, loss of genetic 
variability, and increases in extinction probabilities (Leberg 1990, p. 
194; Jimenez et al. 1994, p. 272; Allendorf and Luikart 2007, pp. 338-
339). Because the information available does not allow us to assess 
historic or current population estimates, nor the extent of the 
species' current range, we are not able to determine the extent if the 
species' range has been reduced to small, isolated patches of habitat.
    Additionally, there is no information to indicate that Sphingicampa 
blanchardi population numbers or population dynamics are vulnerable to 
the effects of small populations. We have no information to estimate 
historic or current population sizes for this species. We have no 
information on the number of individuals, population dynamics, or 
evidence of genetic structuring and inbreeding for the S. blanchardi. 
Additionally, we do not currently have sufficient information on 
environmental or any other factors to know whether they affect the 
species to an extent that a threat exists. The information available 
does not allow us to assess the magnitude or immediacy of these impacts 
on the species. In summary, we have no information that allows us to 
make a reasonable connection between the impacts of stochastic (random) 
environmental, genetic, or demographic events and current or future 
declines of the S. blanchardi. Therefore, we conclude that S. 
blanchardi is not threatened by small population size now or likely to 
become so.
Summary of Factor E
    In summary, based on the best available information, we have no 
evidence that natural or other manmade factors are likely to 
significantly threaten the existence of the Sphingicampa blanchardi. We 
have no information to indicate that the S. blanchardi uses croplands 
and is exposed to pesticides. Also, we no information on historic or 
current population sizes, so we are unable to determine if there may be 
inherent vulnerabilities of small populations and restricted geographic 
range. Therefore, we find that the S. blanchardi is not threatened as a 
result of natural or other manmade factors now or likely to become so.

Finding for the Sphingicampa blanchardi

    As required by the Act, we considered the five factors in assessing 
whether the Sphingicampa blanchardi is endangered or threatened 
throughout all of its range. We examined the best scientific and 
commercial information available regarding the past, present, and 
future threats faced by the S. blanchardi. We reviewed the petition, 
information available in our files, and other available published and 
unpublished information, and we consulted with recognized moth experts 
and State agencies. We evaluated historic threats in respect to current 
and future populations, and used the best available scientific and 
commercial information to make reasonable connections between the 
historic impacts and current or future declines of the species in order 
to determine whether the species is in danger of extinction now or in 
the foreseeable future. The mere identification of factors that could 
negatively impact a species is not sufficient to compel a finding that 
listing is appropriate. We require evidence that these factors are 
operative threats that act on the species to the point that the species 
meets the definition of endangered or threatened under the Act.
    Based on the best available information, there may have been 
historic habitat impacts to the Sphingicampa blanchardi from 
agricultural development, but in the absence of information on historic 
or current species range or abundance, we are unable to determine the 
magnitude of historic, current, or future threats from this activity. 
The small amount of information available is not sufficient to assess 
the extent to which the S. blanchardi's range may have been reduced, or 
if the loss of native

[[Page 59633]]

Tamaulipan thornscrub has caused a decline in population numbers. Also, 
we have no evidence that the native Tamaulipan thornscrub is being 
converted to agricultural crop fields now or in the foreseeable future. 
In the absence of information that allows us to make a reasonable 
connection between historic agricultural conversion of native 
Tamaulipan thornscrub to crop fields and current or future declines of 
the species, we have determined that S. blanchardi is not in danger of 
extinction now or in the foreseeable future due to agricultural 
development.
    Urban development is expected to occur as human populations in 
Texas continue to increase, but we have no information that it will 
occur within the remaining woodland areas of the Lower Rio Grande 
Valley. Also, we do not have the information needed to assess whether 
climate change is a threat to this species. And, we have no evidence 
that overutilization, predation, disease, inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms, pesticide use, and small population size are 
threats to the species. In the absence of information that allows us to 
make a reasonable connection between the impacts of these activities 
and current or future declines of the S. blanchardi, we conclude that 
this species is not in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable 
future due to any of these factors.
    Therefore, based on our review of the best available scientific and 
commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the 
potential threats are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or 
magnitude to indicate that Sphingicampa blanchardi is in danger of 
extinction (endangered), or likely to become endangered, within the 
foreseeable future (threatened) throughout all of its range.

Significant Portion of the Range

    Having determined that Sphingicampa blanchardi is not in danger of 
extinction or likely to become so throughout its range, we must next 
consider whether there are any significant portions of the range where 
it is in danger of extinction or is likely to become endangered in the 
foreseeable future.
    In determining whether Sphingicampa blanchardi is endangered or 
threatened in a significant portion of its range, we first addressed 
whether any portions of the range warrant further consideration. We 
evaluated the current range of S. blanchardi to determine if there is 
any apparent geographic concentration of the primary stressors 
potentially affecting the species, such as habitat loss, climate 
change, pesticide use, and small population size. However, we found the 
stressors are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, magnitude, or 
geographic concentration that would warrant evaluating whether a 
portion of the range is significant under the Act. We do not find that 
S. blanchardi is in danger of extinction now, nor is it likely to 
become endangered within the foreseeable future, throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range. Therefore, listing S. blanchardi as 
endangered or threatened under the Act is not warranted at this time.
    We request that you submit any new information concerning the 
status of, or threats to, the Sphingicampa blanchardi to our Corpus 
Christi Ecological Services Field Office (see ADDRESSES section) 
whenever it becomes available. New information will help us monitor the 
species and encourage its conservation. If an emergency situation 
develops for S. blanchardi, or any other species, we will act to 
provide immediate protection.

Species Information for Ursia furtiva (No Common Name)

Taxonomy and Species Description
    The genus of moths, Ursia, was originally described in 1911 by 
Barnes and McDunnough (1911, pp. 160-161) as belonging to the family 
Notodontidae. The species Ursia furtiva (no common name) was not 
described until 1971, and was based on a single male specimen collected 
in the Big Bend National Park, Texas (Blanchard 1971, pp. 303-305).
Distribution
    Even though there are anecdotal reports of Ursia furtiva occurring 
in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, and Lufkin, Angelina County, Texas 
(http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Ursia-furtiva), we are 
aware of only one confirmed specimen, which was collected in the Big 
Bend National Park, Texas (Blanchard 1971, pp. 303-305). Because 
reports of the species' occurrence outside Big Bend National Park have 
not been confirmed, we are not accepting those reports as records of 
occurrence. Therefore, we acknowledge only the single documented 
specimen from the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park, Texas 
(Blanchard 1971, pp. 303-305). Thus, the distribution of a species 
cannot be described based on a single specimen. Therefore, we are not 
able to determine the distribution of Ursia furtiva.
Habitat and Biology
    We have no information about the habitat or biology of Ursia 
furtiva. Because we lack any information on the species, we cannot 
reach conclusions about the biology or the habitat needs of the 
species.

Five-Factor Evaluation for Ursia furtiva

    In making this finding, information pertaining to the Ursia furtiva 
in relation to the five factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of the Act 
is discussed below.

Factor A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or 
Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range

    The description of Ursia furtiva is based on a single male specimen 
collected in the Big Bend National Park, Texas (Blanchard 1971, pp. 
303-305). Because we have no information about the species, its 
habitat, and current or historic distributions or population levels, we 
conclude that the species is not threatened by the destruction, 
modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range now or likely to 
become so.

Factor B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    We acknowledge that only the single documented specimen is from Big 
Bend National Park, Texas (Blanchard 1971, pp. 303-305). Therefore, any 
commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational collection 
activities would require a permit by the National Park Service (36 CFR 
2.5). Because of this regulation and the lack of information suggesting 
that overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes poses a threat to the species, we find that the 
Ursia furtiva is not threatened by overutilization now or likely to 
become so.

Factor C. Disease or Predation

    We have no information to indicate that the Ursia furtiva is 
subject to disease or predation. We have not encountered any 
information that indicates the contrary; however, in the absence of 
evidence that this may constitute a threat to the species, we conclude 
that the U. furtiva is not threatened by disease or predation now or 
likely to become so.

Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    We have no information to indicate that the Ursia furtiva may be 
affected by the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. As noted 
above under Factor B and according to Title 32 Section 2.5 in the Code 
of Federal

[[Page 59634]]

Regulations, any commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational 
collection activities, including the collection of Ursia furtiva, would 
require a permit by the National Park Service. Also, we have not 
identified any threat to the species under the other four listing 
factors requiring regulatory protection. Consequently, we do not find 
that the lack of regulatory mechanisms, other than the National Park 
Service's permit requirement, constitutes an independent threat to the 
species. We conclude that the U. furtiva is not threatened by the 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms now or likely to become 
so.

Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued 
Existence

    For a more detailed description of how we consider the effects of 
climate change as a component of our analyses of species under the Act, 
please see Factor A, Climate Change, above under the Tamaulipan 
agapema. While it appears reasonable to assume that climate change will 
occur within Big Bend National Park where the only specimen of Ursia 
furtiva has been documented, we lack sufficient information to know 
specifically how climate change will affect the species. In addition, 
since we have no information of the habitat required by this species, 
we cannot make any predictions about the effects of climate change on 
the habitat. We have not identified, nor are we aware of, any data on 
an appropriate scale to evaluate habitat or population trends for the 
species, or to make predictions on future trends and whether the 
species will actually be impacted. Therefore, based on the best 
available information, we conclude that U. furtiva is not threatened by 
climate change now or likely to become so.

Finding for the Ursia furtiva

    As required by the Act, we considered the five factors in assessing 
whether the Ursia furtiva is endangered or threatened throughout all of 
its range. We examined the best scientific and commercial information 
available regarding the past, present, and future threats faced by the 
U. furtiva. We reviewed the petition, information available in our 
files, and other available published and unpublished information, and 
we consulted with recognized moth experts and State agencies.
    Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information pertaining to the five factors, we found no information to 
indicate that there are threats to the species or its habitat, from any 
of the five factors. This species is known from only one documented 
specimen. Therefore, we lack data about Ursia furtiva's habitat, 
current or historical distributions, and susceptibility to threats. 
Based on the very Limited information about this species, we have 
determined that U. furtiva is not in danger of extinction or likely to 
become so.

Significant Portion of the Range

    Having determined that Ursia furtiva is not in danger of extiontion 
or likely to become so throughout its range, we must next consider 
whether there are any significant portions of the range where the 
species is in danger of extinction or is likely to become endangered in 
the foreseeable future. Because the species is known from only one 
documented specimen, we lack information about U. furtiva's habitat, 
current or historical distributions, and susceptibility to threats. 
There is nothing to suggest that threats are disproportionately acting 
on any portion of the species' range such that the species is at risk 
of extinction now or in the foreseeable future. Therefore, we find that 
listing the U. furtiva as an endangered or threatened species is not 
warranted throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

Conclusion of 12-Month Finding

    We find the Tamaulipan agapema, Sphingicampa blanchardi, and Ursia 
furtiva are not in danger of extinction now, nor is any of these three 
species likely to become so throughout all or a significant portion of 
its range. Therefore, listing any of these three species as endangered 
or threatened under the Act is not warranted at this time.
    We request that you submit any new information concerning the 
status of, or threats to, the Taumalipan agapema or Sphingicampa 
blanchardi to our Corpus Christi Ecological Services Field Office (see 
ADDRESSES) whenever it becomes available. New information will help us 
monitor the species and encourage its conservation. If an emergency 
situation develops for either the Taumalipan agapema, S. blanchardi, or 
any other species, we will act to provide immediate protection.
    Also, we request that you submit any new information concerning the 
status of, or threats to, Ursia furtiva to our Austin Ecological 
Services Field Office (see ADDRESSES) whenever it becomes available. 
New information will help us monitor U. furtiva and encourage its 
conservation. If an emergency situation develops for U. furtiva, or any 
other species, we will act to provide immediate protection.

References Cited

    A complete list of references cited is available on the Internet at 
http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the Austin and Corpus 
Christi Ecological Services Field Offices (see ADDRESSES).

Author

    The primary author of this notice is a staff member of the 
Southwest Regional Office.

    Authority:  The authority for this section is section 4 of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: September 7, 2011.
Rowan W. Gould,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-24528 Filed 9-26-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P